Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
The modern world commonly associates monarchy with wealth, inherited privilege, custom and ritual-though usually at some distance from those political processes that actually make a difference in the lives of people. Not so in the Hebrew Scriptures where the king has a direct relationship with the people. The people look to him for fair judgment, protection, and sustenance in hard times. The expectations people have of the Jewish king are like, in the modern world, the expectations some United Methodist Africans have of their bishops. At dawn supplicants line up at the door of the bishop ‘s house, asking for food, shelter, or healing. After addressing individual needs, the bishop may attend to projects that support the common good of the area . The needs of the suffering are always before him . Regardless of human frailty, the ideal of the one who can use the power of a leadership role to dispense justice, mercy, care for the poor, and deliverance of the needy inspires humility and awe.
The ideal of the king in the Hebrew Scriptures offers one of the finest visions of leadership: the leader is one who always keeps in mind the balance of power in the community, shoring up the power of those who are poor and vulnerable and curbing the power of those who have accrued power and use it in oppressive ways. The good and wise leader uses the power of office to care for the needs of each person in the community, to promote the common good, and to empower others for voice and participation .
God of kings and queens, guide the exercise of our responsibility in the various leadership roles in our lives, that we may be just and merciful. Amen.